LONG BEACH -- Proper order has been restored -- at least if you're from Long Beach Poly.
Long Beach Poly redeemed last year's loss to Lakewood -- its first Moore League loss in 15 seasons -- with a resounding 27-14 upset of the No. 4 Lancers at Veterans Stadium on Friday night. Quarterback Chaiyse Hales rushed for a score and threw for two more, helping the No. 22 Jackrabbits regain bragging rights.
"This is the best feeling in the world," Hales said. "They took the Moore League title away from us and we planned on taking it away from them. We got it."
While Hales threw for 189 yards, tailback Keltain Malveaux took it to the touted Lakewood front line, piling up 94 yards rushing on 23 carries. It was boom, boom, pass for the Poly offense, which has apparently forgotten about the ugly losses to St. Bonaventure and Mission Viejo.
"We came in here expecting a dog fight and that's what we got," Malveaux said. "Like they say, when you get a dog and you beat him until he can't be beat no more, they just give up. We did that -- Poly."
Poly coach Raul Lara received the customary Gatorade bath at the conclusion. For Lakewood's Thadd MacNeal, it was a different story.
"They threw the ball pretty efficiently and we were just so inept offensively," MacNeal said. "We struggled."
According to MacNeal, the Poly defense did just enough to fluster his quarterback, Tyler Schultz. The senior threw for 95 yards on 6 for 16 passing. Minus a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half -- a score that evened things up at 14-14 and had the crowd rocking -- Allie Long had a long night, running for only 39 yards. The Jackrabbits forced the Lancers into tough situations.
"We were off," MacNeal added. "Uncharacteristically, we just weren't very sharp."
Poly (4-2) didn't wait long to send a message, opening with a rugged 10-play, 76-yard scoring drive that chewed up almost half of the first quarter. Jeremiah Hollowell capped it with a two-yard touchdown run up the middle.
The Jackrabbits were here to play.
After Lakewood (5-1) capitalized on a turnover to tie it, Hales put Poly back in front with a goal line sneak midway through the second quarter, again attacking the line led by the highly decorated Todd Barr. Long opened the second half with his 100-yarder, but that was that for the Lancers.
Hales connected with tight end Earnest Pettway for an 18-yard score and then hit Josiah Blandin with a soft fade from four yards out to seal it.
"We had to redeem ourselves," Malveaux said. "The Moore League belongs to Poly. There's nothing else -- it's Poly. We had to come out and let everyone know that Poly's back. For real."